The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has successfully conducted air-to-air refueling operations with the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) for the first time.
The exercise, comprising 60 flying sorties performed both during the day and at night, within Indonesian airspace, saw a RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (the Australian designation of the Airbus A330 MRTT) aircraft provide refueling to seven Indonesian F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets. Around 200 boom contacts were conducted over five days.
“This training ensures both countries are contributing to the collective security in the Indo-Pacific,” Commanding Officer of 33 Squadron, Wing Commander Neil Bowen. “It allows the TNI-AU to be more agile and combat-ready when supporting any contingency missions, and provides RAAF aviators continued experience in conducting highly skilled refueling operations in a new environment.”
Since 2018, Indonesia has been considering the acquisition of the A330 MRTT for its own air force. The addition of refueling capabilities would go in line with the recent buildup of the TNI-AU.
In February 2022, Indonesia ordered 42 Dassault Rafale jets. Then in June 2023, 12 second-hand Qatari Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets were acquired to be used as a stopgap solution while awaiting the Rafale deliveries. In August 2022, Indonesia bought 12 ANKA armed drones from Turkish Aerospace Industries and reached an agreement with Boeing for the sale of up to 24 F-15EX fighter jets.
The VIP fleet of the Indonesian Air Force’s 17th Air Squadron was also reinforced with the acquisition of a Falcon 7X and a Falcon 8X business jet.